by WorldTribune Staff, August 24, 2016
Turkish tanks and special forces rolled across the border on Aug. 24 in an unprecedented operation to drive Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) out of the Syrian town of Jarabulus.
Turkey’s army was backed by international coalition airstrikes in its effort to take the ISIL-controlled territory ahead of Kurdish militia.
The operation – named “Euphrates Shield” – began with Turkish artillery pounding dozens of ISIL targets around Jarabulus, the Turkish prime minister’s office said.
Turkish security forces instructed residents to evacuate the border town of Karkamis as they prepared the invasion. The instruction to evacuate came after Karkamis was hit by ISIL mortars on Aug. 23, according to reports on CNN Turk.
Turkey has vowed to “cleanse” its border area of ISIL’s presence after the attack on a wedding in Gaziantep last week killed more than 50 people. Ankara said the wedding attack was likely carried out by the terror group.
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Turkey will “provide all kinds of support to the Jarablus operation. We do not want Daesh (ISIL) to exist in Iraq and Syria.”
Meanwhile, the Syrian government on Aug. 24 called Turkey’s attack on Jarabulus a “flagrant violation” of Syria’s sovereignty.
“Syria demands the end of this aggression,” the foreign ministry said. “Any party conducting a battle against terrorism on Syrian soil must do so in coordination with the Syrian government and the Syrian army who have been fighting this war for five years.
“Chasing out ISIL and replacing them with terrorist groups backed by Turkey is not fighting terrorism.”